In this TEDx Talk, storyteller Jared Rypkema asks each of us to attend to story’s elemental power to reshape and renew our everyday lives. By exploring multiple narrative responses to a single human tragedy, Rypkema shows us how, even in our grief, we can still learn to respond thoughtfully, understand empathetically, and connect deeply—and so become better at being human.
When I think about a story, I think about it in a very simple way. The expression of an idea in narrative form.
I’d like you to take a moment and think about a story you can remember, maybe because it’s one of your favorites, that impacted the way that you saw the world around you.
Maybe it’s one from your childhood or something a little bit more recent. You read it in a book, you saw it in a movie, or you heard it on the radio. just one that changed your perspective on something in life.
Now, this isn’t the easiest of exercises. In fact, when I stepped into the role as a writer and a publisher, I found that story was so engrained in the way that we saw ourselves in relation to the world and so prevalent in how we interacted with it that it was hard to find a single story and say that this one defined a moment for me.
In his book “The Storytelling Animal” Jonathan Gottschall speaks to the power of story in this way. He says that story, whether delivered through films, books, or even video games, teaches us facts about life, influences our moral logic, and marks us for the hopes, fears, and anxieties that alter our behavior and perhaps even our personalities.